For a savvy politico, Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) is remarkably forgetful. The Senate Republican whip can’t remember for sure if he registered as a Democrat… and also can’t remember that Native American Day is an actual holiday:
Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, went to the county courthouse Monday to re-assess his voting record but wasn’t able to get answers as it was closed for Native American Day.
“I’m wondering if it’s accurate,” Novstrup said. “There’s a possibility I switched over if there was a primary that wanted to vote it, but it would’ve only been for about a month. And so what?” [Dana Ferguson, “Conservative Group Aims to Out Ex-Democrats Among State GOP Lawmakers,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.10.09]
Save the hassle this morning, Al—here’s your re-registration card from May 15, 1984:
South Dakota had Democratic primary races in 1984 for President (Mondale! Hart! Jackson! LaRouche!), U.S. Senate (Sinclair vs. Cunningham), House District 2 (Brown County: Herseth, Schaunaman, and Wyly). But we also had Republican primaries for U.S. House (Bell vs. Mangels). It’s perfectly conceivable that young Novstrup may have wanted to cast more votes and thus claimed Democratic status for that more exciting primary. I could certainly understand the impulse to get in on history and cast his vote for Jesse Jackson.
Maybe official, legal party affiliation doesn’t mean anything. Maybe that’s all the more reason to have open primaries, so Al and other interested voters don’t have to establish a paper trail of fickle party status just to vote for the folks who interest them.
But I’m not sure I’d say so what? to the American Indian constituents whose holiday Al Novstrup appears to have forgotten.